One of the things I remember from my childhood is our special friend, Mary, who lived in the local nursing home. Mary was not related to us by blood, but she became an adopted family member. In addition to us visiting her regularly, she joined us for every family gathering ~ birthday celebrations and holidays. She loved Baskin Robbins ice cream and we would often take her a treat, while she told us stories from her days as a chef at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City.
When I left home and went to college, I called a local nursing home and asked them to introduce me to someone who could teach me how to knit. Then I began taking my violin so I could share my music with the residents.
I am so thankful for my parent's efforts to teach me to live beyond myself. In an effort to pass on this same legacy to my own children, I have begun taking them to nursing homes.
Have you ever walked through a nursing home with a child? Young children are like magnets to the older generation. Smiles appear, hands reach out in an effort to connect with the little ones.
My own grandma now lives in a nursing home. Unfortunately we live thousands of miles away and do not get to visit her regularly. Thankfully when we do visit, my children are eager to go and not one bit timid or shy about walking through a crowd of wheelchairs.
Currently we visit a local Alzheimer's and dementia care facility once a month. We take our violins and share our music. We drag friends and other violin students along to join us whenever possible. It is a mighty proud mama moment to watch my daughters share their music with others.
You don't have to play an instrument to make this happen. I have a friend who heads up an intergenerational story time at a local senior home. She takes kids and books, and sits down with a group of seniors for stories.
Here's a video clip of my oldest daughter playing for the seniors.
How are you reaching out to others?